However, the data from UK Finance also showed a pattern of increasing loan-to-income (LTI) ratio for borrowers over the last 12 months, suggesting affordability may be being stretched.
This was particularly so for first-time buyers who now typically require a 3.65 LTI multiple, up from 3.58 a year earlier, reflecting the rise in average loan value of £5,452 to £142,452 over the year.
The strength of buy-to-let remorgaging is not surprising given the well-trailed bubble of maturities in the first half of 2018 following the pre-tax changes spike in activity two years ago.
Buy-to-let purchases (including limited company) were the only downside, where the market slipped back significantly, particularly in the value of transactions completed.
Values and transactions up
First-time buyer mortgage completions were up 8.1% at 32,200 in May compared to May 2018, with lending value up 12.5% at £5.4bn.
Homemover mortgage completions rose 4.4% at 31,100 on May 2017, with value up 4.8% at £6.6bn.
Residential remortgaging completions were also up 7.1% at 36,000 as the value of lending rose 6.8% at £6.3bn.
In the buy-to-let sector the UK Finance data, which includes limited company transactions, revealed purchases were down 9.8% at 5,500 with their value down a significant 22.2% at £0.7bn on May 2017.
In contrast, remorgaging held up well, rising 15% at 14,600 completed deals with the value up 21.2% at £2.3bn.
UK Finance director of mortgages Jackie Bennett noted the rise in the number of first-time buyers and strong remortgaging activity.
“It is also particularly encouraging to see an increase in homemovers, after a period of relative sluggishness in this important segment of the market,” she said.
“However, affordability remains a challenge for some prospective buyers and this is reflected by a gradual increase in loan to income multiples.
“Meanwhile purchases in the buy-to-let market continue to be constrained by recent regulatory and tax changes, the full impact of which have yet to be fully felt.”